Samsung CF591 (C27F591FDU) PC Monitor Review

The curve doesn't do a lot but general performance is good

by hodg100
Tech Review

8

Recommended
Samsung CF591 (C27F591FDU) PC Monitor Review
SRP: £259.99

What is the Samsung CF591?

The 27-inch CF591 is the latest Full HD curved PC monitor from Samsung and was released earlier in 2016 alongside the similarly shaped 27- and 23.5-inch CF390. The CF591 is billed, slightly ironically given the shape, as an all-rounder for business and home users with features that will appeal to gamers, those involved with colour critical work and even movie lovers. At the time of publishing (May 2016), the Samsung LC27F591FDUXEN – catchy product code – is priced at £259.99 so let’s see if its performance can match its good looks.

Design, Connections & Control

Say what you like about the merits of curved screens but they don’t half look stylish and they do engender envy from many onlookers. The Samsung CF591 builds on its attractive curves with a near total bezel-less design, save for a swoosh of silver plastic trim underneath the screen which is matte black, when off, and extremely well treated to combat distracting reflections. There’s a matching trim around the outsides of the edges of the chassis, the back of which is shiny white and very, say it quietly, Apple-esque.

To round off the stylish design, the CF591 sits on a circular, silver base-stand which is attached to the chassis by a white ‘neck’ sharing the same white finish as the back panel. Our one criticism would be that the design offers no opportunity for movement, either vertically or horizontally, so if the fixed position of the screen doesn’t suit, hard cheese. that said, during the review, the Samsung was used by three people of very different heights and none complained and if you knew my kids, you’d know that’s no mean achievement.
Samsung C27F591FDU
All the connections run in a narrow row placed just above the point where the neck meets the chassis. From left to right, we have DisplayPort 1.2. HDMI 1.4 and D-Sub inputs, while next to those are audio in and out jacks and on the far right-hand side is the terminal for the power which is an external unit comprising a small brick (11cm wide/5cm deep) and associated wires.

The Menu system is accessed using a joystick like control on the back of the CF591 which also has shortcuts to power, input selection and the Eye-Saver Mode. As you would expect from a monitor, rather than a TV, the contents of the Menu are fairly straightforward. The only exception to that is the naming of the picture modes as ‘Samsung Magic Bright,’ with options of Custom, Standard, Cinema, Dynamic Contrast and Basic Color. There’s also an option called Samsung Magic Upscale, which is essentially a sharpening feature which some might find useful with small font text. The System Menu has options for Sound, Energy Saving and Freesync which will be useful for those gamers with capable AMD graphics cards. The fact Freesync is available over HDMI – and not just DisplayPort – makes the CF591 very unusual actually and opens up a new market to gamers without a DP connection.
Samsung C27F591FDU

Colour Accuracy

Aside from adjusting the Brightness (backlight) control to suit the room - and some personal preference - we measured the Samsung 27CF591 its factory pre-set state against the sRGB colour gamut using Calman RGB monitor calibration software and a Klein K-10 colorimeter.

For those who intend to calibrate, the Custom mode is the obvious go-to and as we can see from the charts below and to the left, that its out-of-box accuracy is not too bad. The targets for delta Errors (dEs) are below one for static content and three for moving images so we’re a little over that for greyscale, at an average dE of nearly 3.8 and the colour checker measures are a little better, still, with an average of 2.9. The red, green and blue lines chart the greyscale from black to white (right to left) and we can see that they are unevenly mixed with a lack of red energy throughout. Now, depending on the lighting in the room the CF591 is situated in, this might not be such a bad thing if said lighting is fluorescent and a tad yellow-y but anyone involved with work where colour accuracy is of real concern, should really have better lighting than that - ideally D65.

We can see that the claims from Samsung of a colour ‘space’ that is 119% of sRGB (the most commonly used PC standard, by far) are about spot-on. The slight problem is that the over-saturation of the red and green primaries at 100% are having a detrimental effect on the lesser saturated points. It would be better if Samsung could oversaturate at full stimulus levels while mapping better lower down but it’s far from a bad result.
Samsung C27F591FDU
Now concentrating on the charts to the right, that show how the KF591 responds to calibration and we can see that the answer is, very well thank you. Average greyscale errors now stand at 0.79 and the overall colour checker dE’s are a miniscule 0.56 so you would be seeing just about any content as close to intended as reasonably possible

Picture Quality

The Samsung 27CF591 is equipped with a VA panel that promises better black levels, and therefore contrast performance, than the many IPS panels in the monitor market. We were actually expecting better blacks than we measured, however, with the calibrated Samsung coming in at 0.097 cd/m2 (nits). That resulted in a calibrated ANSI contrast of 1,250:1, which isn’t all that higher than an equivalent IPS model which might well boast better out-of-box accuracy than the Samsung possesses. The theoretical contrast ratio is higher than that, of course, as the CF591 was capable of maintaining average peak brightness of 216 nits from a 4x4 chequerboard pattern, although that raised the black floor to 0.1055 nits, thus producing an ANSI contrast ratio of 2,047:1; although in the average environment that kind of brightness level isn’t going to do your eyes any favours.

Speaking of eye-care, if you do spend countless hours staring at the screen, Samsung’s Eye-Saver mode is definitely effective although the change in colour temperature is quite jarring, at first, and instantly everything looks less defined and under-saturated. It doesn’t take long for the eyes to adjust though but if you plan on using it full time it would reap dividends to calibrate a mode with it switched on. We can’t say that we ever felt the need to have it switched on for anything other than testing purposes though because a sensible Brightness setting and correct greyscale goes a long way to reducing eye-strain issues anyhow. Despite our sensitivity to display flicker, we never sensed any with the PC set to output 1080p at 60Hz but we can’t help feeling that, in 2016 and with a screen of this size, we should be expecting a higher resolution.

We remain staunchly ambivalent about the benefits, or otherwise, of curved displays and since the one in the CF591 is so gentle it barely seemed to have any effect. It does mess with the geometry of objects, somewhat, but the brain soon compensates for that and any added immersion factor of the wrap-around design is minimal at best. It looks great, for sure, and perhaps the default position for monitor viewing – close up & straight on – benefits just a little by virtue of the edges of the screen being closer to the eyes than a flatty would but it’s a minor gain only. The viewing angles of the panel are quite reasonable for the technology employed on the horizontal plane but go anything more than 15 degrees off-axis vertically and there’s a huge contrast drop-off and colour fade so make sure you get it positioned at eye level.

Video Review

Input Lag & Energy Efficiency

Resolution concerns aside and Freesync notwithstanding, as we don’t have capable hardware to test, the Samsung CF591 presents a good choice for gamers with a very low input lag, measured at 14.1 milliseconds with our Leo Bodnar device.

The following measurements were taken with the Samsung 27CF591 displaying a full-screen 100% white pattern:

Out-of-box default, standard mode – 42 watts
Calibrated standard mode – 35 watts
Standby – < 0.5 watts

Verdict

Pros

  • Capable of superb accuracy
  • Low input lag
  • Good contrast
  • Gorgeous design

Cons

  • Higher resolution would be nice
  • Weak vertical viewing angles

Samsung CF591 (C27F591FDU) PC Monitor Review

Should I buy one?

If having a cool looking setup is one of your decision-making criteria – and there’s nothing wrong with that, might we add – then the 27-inch Samsung CF591 is one of the most attractive monitors on the market with its curved, bezel-less design complemented by flashes of silver and a contemporary white plastic back panel. There are decent connectivity options, too, including D-Sub, DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 inputs included, with the latter supporting Freesync for gamers which certainly marks the CF591 as unusual. The relatively low resolution (1080p) panel might put some of the gaming crowd off, however, when you can get higher-res models at a comparable price but the low input lag of 14 milliseconds should satisfy most.

The out-of-the-box colour accuracy of the 27CF591 was impressive, with just a lack of red energy in the greyscale and over-saturated red and green primaries to fault it but the Samsung is well capable of near perfect fidelity when calibrated. Given the VA panel inside, we migt have hoped for better black levels and contrast performance but the 2,000+ ANSI ratio is still better than all those IPS competitors can produce. Viewing angles are more than serviceable on the horizontal plane but not so on the vertical, although that shouldn’t be a concern for most people so we're happy to give the Samsung CF591 PC monitor an AVForums Recommended Award.
Recommended

Scores

Design

.
9

Connectivity

.
.
8

Out-of-the-box accuracy sRGB

.
.
8

Calibrated sRGB

10

Black Levels & Contrast

.
.
.
7

Bright Screen Uniformity

.
.
8

Dark Screen Uniformity

.
.
8

Viewing Angles

.
.
.
7

Input Lag

.
9

Value for Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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